With the Trinamul Congress criticising the governor for appointing the vice-chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University (RBU) instead of signing the Bill that makes the chief minister the appointing authority, the governor hit back, clarifying that no bills are pending with him for consideration and that the appointment was made based on the request of the state education minister and the suggestions of a search committee.
The TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh, reacting on the appointment of the RBU VC by the governor recently, had alleged that the latter doesn’t believe in any democratic principles. He accused Dhankhar of acting against the essence of federalism as he reasoned that the governor, instead of signing the Bill that makes the chief minister the chancellor, went ahead and exercised his powers as the incumbent chancellor. Ghosh alleged that Dhankhar did not even bother to take into confidence the education minister Bratya Basu and the chief minister Mamata Banerjee before the announcement.
Taking offence at these statements, the governor has clarified publicly that the appointment of the RBU VC was made based on a request from the state education minister, and subsequently on recommendations made by the ‘search committee’ which suggested three names. He said Dr Mahua Mukherjee, professor, department of dance in RBU, was selected because her name appeared first in the order of names in the list. He wrote, it is “most unfortunate and grave impropriety that ruling party TMC spokesperson has made totally wrong statement.”
Dhankhar reminded, as the incumbent chancellor he need not consult anyone else to make an appointment.
Further, responding to the accusation that he is not considering the bills pending with him despite being cleared in the Assembly, Dhankhar said that no such bill is pending with him for consideration as it was sent back to the state assembly “on the ground of incompleteness of compliance”. To back his claim, he said that while sending the bills for consideration, the Assembly secretariat indicated that a complete official report of the debates of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly on the Bill will be forwarded as soon as it is ready. Hence, without receiving these inputs he cannot sign the Bill.
On the recent TMC delegation visit to Raj Bhavan, Dhankhar said that the delegation was reminded that the appointment of 25 VCs without authorisation from the governor/ chanceIIor is illegal and the government response of rectification was awaited before action in that regard is initiated. He also said the delegation was notified of a “slanderous editorial” against the governor, published in Jago Bangla, the Trinamul mouthpiece with state cabinet minister Partha Chatterjee being the chief editor of the publication.